Turmeric Chicken

Turmeric Chicken

Turmeric chicken stir-fry is crunchy, spicy and extremely appetizing. Turmeric which is known for its health benefits presents a beautiful aroma and a dazzling shade of yellow to the dish. Paired with crunchy carrots and French beans, this is a healthy and wholesome dish.

5 stars

Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 20 mins


Ayam Masak Kunyit

Malaysian, Indonesian

Nyonya Cooking on Facebook
Nyonya Cooking on Pinterest
Nyonya Cooking on Twitter

Nutrition per Serving

287 kcal
36 g
4 g
28 g

In the Malay language, 'ayam masak kunyit' translates to ‘chicken cooked with turmeric’. As there is a trend for recipes using turmeric, give this chicken recipe a try. This quick turmeric stir-fry dish is one of my favourites week night dinner recipe because it's simple to prepare. Besides, it goes really well with rice or any grains. While ayam masak kunyit is a typical home cooked dish, it has become increasingly popular and is now sold in food trucks around Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. One needs to wait in a queue to get a pack of these golden chicken pieces with rice.

Now that we know it's easy to prepare, let's take a look at the substitutes for the ingredients and tips to make the best turmeric chicken stir-fry.

Fresh turmeric

Fresh turmeric is the best option for this recipe. While it is a bit messy compared to using turmeric powder, fresh turmeric gives the golden pigment and earthy fragrance. It needs to be pounded until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Do use gloves to avoid staining your fingers. 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder may be substituted with ca. 2 tablespoons of fresh root.

#Extra crispy turmeric chicken Combining two types of flour gives the batter a crispier texture. The result is a light and crispy coating which is so delicious to bite into. Tapioca flour can be substituted with other types of starch such as corn or wheat. However, rice flour here is a must! Of course, you can substitute it with wheat flour or only use tapioca flour if you don‘t mind the difference in texture.

Grill, air fry or bake chicken instead

This recipe requires the chicken pieces to be shallow fried until crispy. For the health-conscious, less oil may be used when grilling them. Otherwise, I'd recommend baking or air frying the chicken pieces instead.

Non-spicy dish

Adding chillies to the dish may make it quite spicy. Do remove the membranes and seeds of the chillies to reduce the heat. It may also be substituted with capsicum.

Extra spice and heat

This dish is rather dry with almost no gravy. It is usually served with some sambal belacan. The spiciness of the sambal belacan may be reduced by adding some capsicum. While it is not typical to have capsicum in the pungent chilli sauce, the addition actually makes it sweeter.


red onion(s)
french beans
fresh chilli (red)
220 g
chicken meat
2 tbsp
tapioca flour
2 tbsp
rice flour
1 tbsp
turmeric powder
3⁄4 tbsp
1⁄4 tbsp
8 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

Turmeric Chicken Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 1 red onion(s)
    • 30 french beans
    • 1 carrot(s)
    • 1 fresh chilli (red)

Cut carrots into thick strips and french beans into lengths of ca. 4cm. Slice chillies diagonally. Chop shallots into wedges. Set aside.

Turmeric Chicken Step 2

Step 2 of 4

    • 220 g chicken meat
    • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
    • 2 tbsp rice flour
    • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
    • 3⁄4 tbsp salt
    • 1⁄4 tbsp sugar
    • 4 tbsp water

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Marinate chicken with tapioca flour, rice flour, turmeric powder, salt, sugar and water for 15 minutes.

Turmeric Chicken Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • oil

In a pan placed over medium heat, add enough oil to fry chicken pieces. To test if the oil is heated to the right temperature, add a droplet of turmeric mixture. If it sizzles immediately it touches the oil, add chicken pieces and fry until golden brown. Then, set aside.

Turmeric Chicken Step 4

Step 4 of 4

    • 4 tbsp water

Discard all the oil used for frying chicken. Add water into the pan along with carrots and french beans. Sauté over medium heat. Add shallots. Sauté until vegetables are soft, according to your preference. Turn off the stove. Toss the fried chicken pieces together with the vegetables. Serve with white rice.

Published: May 23, 2019

2 Discussions

4 years ago


Awesome recipe. Simple steps and clear instructions. More importantly, so very delicious!!

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

This makes me really happy! If you like, try the turmeric curry chicken recipe. https://www.nyonyacooking.com/recipes/turmeric-chicken-curry~PtgFLbP9

Margaret Lai
4 years ago

Margaret Lai

I using the chicken thighs without cutting to small pieces. Marinate chicken & left in the fridge for 2 days. When I cook the chicken, turn out to be very salty. Please advice how long should I marinate the bigger pieces of chicken like thighs or drumsticks?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

You don't need to marinate the chicken thighs for so long. 15 to 30 minutes will do.

3 years ago


@Margaret Lai: I used a third of the salt and it turned out great. So, I can imagine that the full amount of salt in this recipe makes it pretty salty. Perhaps "tbsp" should read "tsp" in case of the salt.

Give us your opinion! Log in and start posting.